Unification to Speed Formation of European Alliance

Article excerpt

The unification of East and West Germany will speed up efforts to form the European economic alliance scheduled for 1992, according to Rozanne L. Ridgway, the president of The Atlantic Council of the United States.

An opposing view, Ridgway said Wednesday at an Oklahoma City news conference, is held by people who are concerned that the economic integration of Europe has evolved into political integration that could slow the process of pulling the 12 diverse nations together.

But Ridgway's camp believes West Germany is already a powerful economic force in Europe, that another 17 million people from East Germany would not break the economic pact and that the individuals concerned about a unified Germany would be concerned regardless of whether unification occured.

A unified Germany run as a democracy would not pose a political threat, she said.

Ridgway, a former ambassador to East Germany and Finland, was in Oklahoma City on Wednesday to address the Oklahoma State University International Affairs Forum. She served as special assistant to the U.S. secretary of state for negotiations and was at the table for each of the five Reagan-Gorbachev summits.

The Atlantic Council had been formed to support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but has begun relations with the Soviet Union and Pacific-Atlantic alliances.

East Germany and the rest of the Eastern Bloc nations have spent the past 40 years with no experience running their own affairs or making their own choices, Ridgway said. Having begun an evolutionary process, these countries must organize candidates' campaigns, develop governments and bureaucracies while facing severe economic problems of inflation and unemployment, she said.

The rest of the century will be spent reacting to, and growing from, the revolution that began in Eastern Bloc streets late last year, she said.

Uncertainty and instability will be part of the process of building new governmental institutions and moving from a centrally-planned to a market economy, she said. …